Do you remember in grade school…we all tried so hard to do and say the “right” things so we could make friends?
Fast forward 20-30 years and most of us still are working at it! 🙂
Connecting with your social networks and developing rich, meaningful relationships differentiates the good leaders from the great ones.
I found some interesting research about how humans are wired to connect. Emerging research indicates that social networks strongly shape our health and happiness, in part, because the support of our friends and families reduces the impact of stress on our brains and bodies. Recent research shows that social networks even shape how we use our brains to make decisions. [Reference: Michael Platt Ph.D. Fine-tuning Human Performance]
When I’m talking to someone new, my rule of thumb is to try and find those tidbits of information about that person that I can relate to. Let me give you an example….
When I first started meeting people in the Dallas market, I would be “set up” by a friend of mine to meet a friend of hers. We’d meet for coffee, and I would quickly scan my new friend and pay attention to details.
Below is my mental checklist:
- What is the cover photo on her phone? Does she have kids? A partner or significant other? A cherished pet?
- Does she have toys or baby wipes in her purse?
- Does her keychain have a logo on it? (sorority or college symbol or anything else like a business or non-profit organization logo)
- What does she order to drink or eat? Does she have a special diet? If so…ask when she became a vegetarian/pescetarian/or whatever it may be and why.
- What does she talk about? Sports? Books? Kids?
We as humans have a deep desire to connect with others. We are wired for relationships.
Do your part of the relationship building process and put down your phone and genuinely show interest in connecting. You’ll find that people are eager to connect, have a desire to help, and want to be your friend.